Tag Archives: Cousins

Procrastination Holiday Mash Up

Since high school my Christmas list has gotten shorter and shorter. There’s usually one or two things I want that I’m too cheep to buy, and one or two things I need, and that’s what I ask for. Otherwise I just buy stuff myself whenever I need/want it. It’s partly because I learned how to save money, and partly because I’ve had a mini-job for the past couple years so I can do said saving of money. It’s also because since probably my junior or senior year of high school, I feel weird asking my parents for things that I can afford and don’t necessarily need or that I can wait for.

The thing is, my parents like buying stuff for my brother and me. We have an obnoxiously huge beanbag chair (it’s not actually a beanbag chair but I don’t exactly know what to call it) in our kitchen in front of the TV. Our kitchen is obnoxiously huge, so it’s basically part kitchen, part dining room, part living room. Anyway, two summers ago it was ridiculously hot, and because of that (or maybe just because of coincidence) I got sick and projectile vomited all over the nest (that’s what we call it). We went 4 or 5 miserable months without a nest, but our parents surprised us with a new one that Christmas.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made sense to get a new one if my brother and I weren’t home all the time. Sam and I are both in college, but I commute, and he comes home every weekend. We’re both about half an hour from home in opposite directions.

Last year my parents surprised me with a 5 gallon fish tank and a beta fish for Christmas. His name is Raskolnikov because Dostoevsky is a genius. I know we have a ten gallon tank lying around somewhere, so I’m thinking about upgrading and getting a few more fish. I don’t think I’d move Raskolnikov because he seems quite content all by his lonesome, but it might be nice to have some more little friends. I’m weird. I talk to my fish.

I do need a new set of headphones for my computer. Last year my aunt got me a wireless set, and they stopped working. I’ve decided to ask for a set of wired ones for Christmas because wireless anything and I have never been friends. In fact, technology and I have never really been friends, but that’s a whole different story. I know it’s the thing you plug into to charge them, and it’s not the charger itself that isn’t working because I’ve tried a different one and it still doesn’t work.

My brother and two of my cousins and I did ask for the new Pokemon game for Christmas. Yes, I’m 21 and I shamelessly admit that I like and play Pokemon. There’s quite a bit of nostalgia involved. When we were kids, Star Wars and Pokemon were our obsession. That and, gosh darn it, they’re fun!

Otherwise, that’s about it. My list is short this year. It drives our parents crazy, and it drives our aunts and grandmothers crazy, too. I could use a new amplifier for my guitars, but that can wait. I suppose I could ask people for Guitar Center gift cards. I’d like to go and try things out for myself. That upgrade probably won’t even happen for a few years anyway, though.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like Christmas and Thanksgiving are really close together this year. Thanksgiving is kind of the start to our Christmas season anyway. The past few years we’ve gone up to Maine and gone out to eat with our family. We used to have it at our house, but my grandfather got really sick, and my grandmother didn’t want to go far. We’ve just gotten used to doing it that way, I guess. We used to stay for one night, but last year we stayed for two because my grandfather died two days before Thanksgiving and we had to stay for the funeral. This year we’re staying for two nights again just so we can have time to see everyone and hang out. We usually go and get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but since we’re staying for two nights we’re doing that just before we go home. It’ll be fun just to hang out in Portland and play with our cousins. I think we’re going to bring the Wii so we can play Mario Kart in the hotel room.

Our family is insane. My oldest first cousin is 9 years older than me, and my youngest second(third?) cousin is 16 or 17 years younger than me. My mom has about 50 first cousins, which means I have over 100 cousins of varying degrees. On my dad’s side I have 2 second cousins who have no kids, and 2 fist cousins. One is my age and one is two years younger than me. For Thanksgiving this year we’re meeting up with 27 people. Some people have asked why we go out to eat instead of going to someone’s house. Part of it is that we have too many people, and part of it is because it’s significantly less stressful. It makes it fun.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook about people stressing about Christmas already. There are ways of making it less stressful. It’s not that hard. I’ll admit that there are things about Christmas that bug me. It’s almost like there are two holidays going on at the same time, and a minority of people remember the real reason why we celebrate it. The point isn’t to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood (we have the 2nd biggest only because our neighbor has taller ceilings). The point isn’t to get the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to give the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to have the most decorated house (our mom goes nuts anyway, and it’s fun!). The point is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and that’s WAY less stressful.

I know some people freak out about the “secular” stuff and say it’s creepy or evil and that Jesus was born in April, which may or may not be true. The same people don’t celebrate Easter for the same reason: it’s become too secular. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. The point is that we remember the real reason why we celebrate. The other stuff just makes it fun. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have fun. The only thing I might do differently if I had kids is I’d probably skip the whole Santa Claus story. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I’d still get a tree, I’d still eat massive quantities of junk food, and I’d still get together with all the magnificently crazy people.

I think it’s true that people get a little nicer around Christmas, and a little more generous. Maybe the love gets thrown around for some of the “wrong” reasons, but the point is that the love gets thrown around, and I am perfectly okay with that. So have fun. Don’t stress out. Go to church if you want to. Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Just remember why this holiday exists.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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The Other Leftie

Last Sunday we went up to Maine and crowded into my great aunt Lucy’s kitchen to hang out with my mom’s cousins and their kids. The rest of the kids (most of them much younger than me) and my brother and I played Minecraft while the old people chatted and then we all went out to dinner. There were 20 of us in total, so it took quite a while to get our food.

At dinner I ended up sitting next to my six year old cousin Alyssa. She and her brother, Andrew together are gremlins, but on her own, Alyssa is actually pretty mellow. While we were waiting for food, she and I ended up playing games on the kids’ menu, and I noticed that she was left handed, like myself. I think she and I are the only cousins on my mom’s side who are left handed. We’re also the only girls on my mom’s side who are close (my extended family includes over 100 cousins, and Alyssa and I are actually second cousins once removed).

I remember when I was 15 and Alyssa was a baby. I told her that it was up to her and me to keep all these boys in line. She does a pretty good job with her brother at least. Last summer we played a boys vs girls game of Capture the Flag, which ended up being big kids vs little kids by dint of the fact that all the boys in our family happen to be a lot younger, and somehow we lost. It was embarrassing and depressing.

It’s weird to think about, but Alyssa will be 15 when I am 30. Are we going to have anything to talk about? My cousin Nicholas (Dinkens) and I are very close and have things in common, and he’s 9 years younger than me. I’ve never been very girly, though, and he and I have video games and nerdy card games in common. Will Alyssa be into cheer leading? Will she be gushing over boys? What kind of music will she like? I don’t see her nearly enough to ensure that she’ll be nerdy cool. It seems weird to be almost a generation older than her and not be. I’m going to be ancient by the time she has kids. Then again, I’ll probably be ancient by the time my brother has kids.

As of a few weeks ago I am officially a generation older than one of my cousins. He’s actually my half second cousin. My family is complicated. His mom (my half cousin) is around my age (20). It seems weird to think about even the idea of kids at this point in my life, partly because I don’t want my own, but partly because I have so much going on and so much I want to do. The idea of “settling down” in any way just sounds downright repulsive to me. This is not to say that I blame my cousin in any way. She really wanted a kid, and I’m happy for her.

All these little kids make me kind of crazy sometimes, but I really do love them. I also love that I don’t have to deal with them 24/7. I have a hard time with little kid culture because I’m a snooty intellectual type, but I also remember being a little kid and how insane and awesome it was. Between the ages of 5 and 6 or so, I literally thought I was a dragon. I also had a plethora if imaginary friends, including a black cat, a dragonfly and a pink alien. In middle school my friends and I created an imaginary world that we would explore and hang out in every Friday night. Admittedly, as a junior in college I still do this kind of thing in my head. The whole growing up thing never really appealed to me entirely.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Northbound

It’s raining. Sometimes I think rain is a sign of good luck. It always rains when I do an open mic. I usually pick a few dates per month to perform, and it invariably rains on those days. We’re leaving for a week to go camping in Maine tomorrow. Camping in the rain is awful, but the forecast looks good for tomorrow and the rest of the week. We have a few super fun plans for this trip. The first thing on my list is to go to my uncle’s house and learn to shoot a gun. It just seems like it could be fun. I would probably never own one, and I’m not exactly a fan of hunting, but just shooting at targets or something seems like it could be enjoyable. It’s just something I want to try.

My brother and cousin and I are planning to organize a Capture the Flag tournament. Whichever team wins 2 out of 3 games will win. We’ll have one game at night and one during the day and we’ll have a tiebreaker if we need to. Most of my mom’s extended family comes, so we’ll have plenty of people to play.

We also do a mile swim every year. I’ve only made it all the way a handful of times, including last year. Of course I’m going to shoot for it again this year. I’m usually the last one to finish, but I think the trick is to take it slow. It’s not really a race; we just like to see who can make it the whole way.

I’m also organizing a talent night with another cousin. We did it last year for the first time, and it actually turned out okay. It probably would have been better if the weather had been nicer. Last year was specifically a jam night; meant for musicians only, but this year we’re doing a talent night to hopefully get more people. There are plenty of odd people with odd talents at camp, so I figured we’d get everyone we could. I think our other mistake was that we were trying to get people to sign up ahead of time, but this year I think we’ll just do it free-for-all style. Last year the rangers let us use the amphitheater where they show movies on Saturdays and Thursdays. They show a lot of Disney movies, which is fun. I made my cousins watch “Chicken Run,” and I think they’re still scarred.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Gremlins (not the movie)!

This is sort of terrible, but I needed to vent. I apologize in advance.

I have these two cousins; we’ll call them Thing 1 and Thing 2, who are 7 and 5. The 5 year old is actually pretty mellow– unless she’s with her brother. Thing 1 on the other hand is an insufferable little boy. He doesn’t follow rules, he lies and he asks too many stupid and annoying questions. We made the horrible mistake of letting him onto our Minecraft server where he proceeded to blow up my portal, thus stranding me in the middle of nowhere for 4 Minecraft days. I know I shouldn’t get all testy about something like that, but he’s just been so annoying the past couple days. I kicked him out of the pool last night for not listening and picking on his sister. It was kind of gratifying. I know I’m supposed to be nice to him because he’s my cousin, but it’s getting harder and harder.

I’m used to doing things at a relatively laid back pace. I like peace and quiet and I’m mostly interested in mature, intellectual things. I think a lot of kids’ TV shows, stories and movies are pointless and idiotic and I don’t have a whole ton of patience for children in general. They wanted to watch me play Journey last night, which happens to be my favorite video game for the art, animation, open ended story and amazing music. I agreed because I thought it would keep them quiet. It turns out nothing can shut these kids up. I owe my sanity to my mom and brother because they ended up taking the gremlins to Pet Co while I played. I ended up playing with a very entertaining person too.

We watched Monsters Inc last night, which I’ll admit is one of the better kids’ movies I’ve seen. After that, Thing 1 asked me what time I was going to get up the next morning “8 or 9?” I told him 10:30 and slept until 11:30 or so. I could never be a mother. Maybe it’s selfishness, but I just can’t cater to the wants and needs of bratty kids. I have a couple other cousins who are 11 and 13. There isn’t as much of an age difference, but I don’t remember either of them being bratty when they were 7 or 5. In fact, they’re both mature for their age, caring and best of all, quiet. We’re even interested in a lot of the same things.

I have some work to do this afternoon and the rest of the week, so hopefully the little monsters will stay out of my room, though i kind of doubt it. If I’m not already crazy, I will be by the time they leave on Wednesday.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Love y’all! 🙂